You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you are committed to validating and affirming your students, colleagues, parents, and community culturally and linguistically. You are a contributor to the CLR Community. Thanks for VABBing.

March 2017
VABBing with Mindset

Lest We Not Forget the L Word - Language

By Dr. Sharroky Hollie, Executive Director, The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learniing

Equal to the emphasis on cultural behaviors is validating and affirming your students' home languages. In some ways, we, as culturally responsive educators, can be overly focused on cultural behaviors. We cannot forget that CLR stands for culture and language responsiveness.  When I began doing professional developments in CLR years ago, most of the time and focus was on language, in large part due to the now infamous media-hyped Ebonics Controversy in 1998. Over  time, though, schools became less interested in home languages because of persistent disproportionalities around discipline and special education issues, which naturally linked to cultural behaviors. But forgetting or minimizing language is a mistake in the framework of linguistic responsiveness. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Language is the most integral aspect of cultural identity. There is no aspect of our culture that is more personal, identifying, and intimate than our home language.
  2. Similar to culture, we come to school with our home language in-tact. There is nothing  wrong, incorrect, or improper about our home languages. Put another way, there is nothing to correct or fix. Our home language is acceptable just the way it is.
  3. Linguistic situational appropriateness or "bilingualism" is the goal.  We all need to know how to speak and write in academic language when appropriate. But not at the expense of losing our home language or understanding situational appropriateness with the languages we use.

How do we, then, validate and affirm the home languages of our students? Just like with culture, it starts with recognizing our linguistic biases, prejudices, and ignorance. When was the last time judgement, bias, or ignorance was your first thought when you heard someone speak?

After recognizing our own biases, we then have to recognize the language varieties in our classrooms, which include accepted languages (traditional foreign languages, such as Spanish) and unaccepted languages (those deemed non-standard, such as African American Vernacular English). With the linguistic recognition comes the responsibility to not be deficit when our students use their home languages in linguistically inappropriate ways, to use their languages to build rapport and relationships, and to teach them in ways that honor their languages while at the same time building and bridging them to school and academic language success.

Where are you in your journey to linguistic responsiveness?

Mindset Knowledge Builder of the Month:

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

VABBing with Mindset
VABBing with Skillset

VABBing Language with CLR 

By Gina Spoo, CLR Instructional Coach

  • How do you validate and affirm home language?
  • In what ways have you helped students codeswitch between home language and school language?
  • What activities do you use that provide opportunities for situational appropriateness by helping students make connections between their home language and school language?
  • Use this survey to reflect on your practices. Meet with a colleague(s) to reflect and share ideas.

The March Strategy is…


  • This strategy Validates and Affirms through honoring home language, collaboration, and sociocentrism.
  • It further Builds and Bridges by infusing speaking frames to support academic talk and by teaching Tier 2 academic words.
  • Great for introducing a new story or unit: Frontloading a chapter; Synonym development of Tier 2 words; etc.
Who are your students who need  Linguistic VABBing? 

How are you going to utilize this great vocabulary activity that VABB's home language?

Remember to share it with VABBnation by tagging @validateaffirm on Twitter or Facebook.  

3 Ways To Speak English
Jamila Lyiscott



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Responsive Reads March 2017
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